PIRATES COVE, EAST FLEET (TWICE!) - RSPB ARNE - MIDDLEBERE - HARTLAND MOOR
WEATHER; dull and overcast all day, a cold westerly wind. Temp 6-9C
My second day with Sallie Jackson and David Jones (happy birthday David) was also enjoyed by Guy Campbell. We set out from Chickerell at 8am and birthday boy, David was determined to see the RICHARD'S PIPIT in Wyke Regis after we missed it yesterday, so we changed our itinerary to accomodate his request.
We spent about an hour staring into the Horse Paddock once again, we also walked down to Pirate's Cove and searched the grass meadows around the cove. Unfortunately for my three companions I was the only one to see the Pipit! It was perched out in the open on a hedge, but if flew off before the other caught up with me, doh!!
We searched some more but soon we gave up and headed out of Weymouth to visit RSPB Arne. Other birds we had seen so far included: Stonechat, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtails, Goldfinches, Little Egrets, Common Gulls, lots of Rooks, Crows and Magpies. We saw (and heard singing) a single Song Thrush, which was a new species for David and Sallie's year list. On the Fleet we saw Brent Geese, Curlew, Cormorants and a few Teal.
On the way to Arne we stopped to look for Dartford Warbler on Hartland Moor, it was windy and cold and we had little confidence of seeing one. We perservered and finally had glimpses of at least two female birds but they were very brief.
At Arne we spent most of our time in and around the car park because we were looking for Firecrest and that is the best place to find them. However, we saw approximately none! We did find Goldcrests, Coal, Blue, Long-tailed and Great Tits, Nuthatch and lots of Robins, Blackbirds, Dunnocks and a single Wren.
a distant Mistle Thrush seen near Middlebere
We sat outside the cafe and ate cake with a hot drink whilst watching the bird feeders. A couple Siskins joined the common tit species with Chaffinches, Goldfinches and Greenfinches.
Next, was a visit to the hide at Middlebere and once again we spent some time looking for Dartford Warbler along the approach track in the surrounding gorse, we struck out once again. We did find Mistle Thrush and I had a brief sighting of a Hen Harrier (ringtail) but once again again my companions missed it!
a view of Corfe Castle taken from Hartland Moor
On the marsh area near the hide we saw Common Buzzard, Marsh Harrier, a Kestrel, Little Egret and a fly over Curlew. In the scrub near the hide we saw Bullfinch and we had a very brief view of a FIRECREST. David and Sallie didn't see this bird but better was to come. Immediately behind the hide a second Firecrest was calling and with a little patience we got incredible views of the bird. This was a very colourful male and boy did it show well! Sallie managed to get some great pictures of it.
a crucifix picture of the Firecrest
two other pictures of the beautiful Firecrest taken by Sallie Jackson
The sightings from hide were very disappointing, the tide was very low by now and the entire 'lake' had drained of water. A flock of 100+ Lapwings sat out there on the mud with dozens of Teal, a single Curlew and a few Mallards. The Lapwings flew off and a flock of Wigeon flew in and we did see a couple of Eurasian Spoonbills in the distance.
A butterfly sighting was a surprise when a Peacock Butterfly flew in front of the hide. We also watched a Grey Squirrel and we had sightings of several Skia Deer.
Grey Squirrel - picture taken from the hide at Middlebere
We had more views of Firecrest on the way back but nothing out on the heath or the marsh. We left the area at 3pm and headed back to Weymouth and guess where David wanted to go...........yes, you guessed it, East Fleet to look for the Richard's Pipit!!
We arrived some 45 minutes later and stood on Camp Road with two other birders searching the horse paddock without success. Another local birder could be seen at the far end of the end and he was watching something, then he waved to us and pointed to a section of the paddock that was not visible to us. So, we walked around the paddock to this guy who hped us find the bird! At last, we had the RICHARD'S PIPIT in our scopes, bins and cameras.
a record shot of the Richard's Pipit taken by David Jones on his birthday
We spent sometime watching the bird before it walked down the slope of the paddock and out of sight. David and Sallie were made up, they had their bird at last and it was David's birthday present!
We left them at their Cottage at 5pm and set off for home arriving some 45 minutes later.